Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/246

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man was fought. The main attack, upon the second division under Sir John Lysaght Pennefather [q. v.], began about 6 a.m. Raglan was on the field by 7 a.m., but he did not interfere with Pennefather in his conduct of the fight. He confined himself to directing reinforcements, and ordering up two 18-pounder guns, which did much to reduce the Russian preponderance in artillery. He had sent off at once to ask for French assistance, showing better judgment than two of his divisional generals, who declined Bosquet's offer of aid. He watched the course of the battle from the ridge which formed the main position, where Strangways, the chief of the artillery, was killed while talking to him, and Canrobert (Saint-Arnaud's successor) was wounded. ‘I am not at all aware of having exposed myself either rashly or unnecessarily, either at Alma or Inkerman,’ he wrote afterwards in reply to the remonstrances of the secretary of war, Henry Fiennes Pelham Clinton, fifth duke of Newcastle [q. v.] But it was a saying among his staff that ‘my lord rather likes being under fire than otherwise;’ and he seems to have run needless risk on this as on other occasions. His perfect calmness had its value, however, in steadying younger soldiers.

Raglan had been given the colonelcy of the horse guards on 8 May 1854, and had been promoted general on 20 June. He was now made field marshal from 5 Nov. The notification was accompanied by a letter from the queen, in which she said: ‘The queen cannot sufficiently express her high sense of the great services he has rendered and is rendering to her and to the country by the very able manner in which he has led the bravest troops that ever fought’ (Martin, Life of the Prince Consort, iii. 154). It was a last ray of sunshine.

The allies had narrowly escaped destruction at Inkerman, and, looking back upon the danger, men forgot that it was inseparable from the attempt to carry on a siege with seventy-six thousand men in face of a hundred and twenty thousand. Want of men made it impossible to actively push on the siege of Sebastopol, and after Inkerman a winter in the Crimea was seen to be inevitable. On 14 Nov. a hurricane in the Black Sea wrecked twenty-one vessels which were full of stores urgently needed. Immediately afterwards the cold weather set in. The sufferings and losses of the troops increased, and murmurs at home grew louder. The ‘Times’ correspondent, W. H. Russell, had already attributed the absence of intrenchments covering the right of the allies to indolence and overweening confidence. He now asserted: ‘If central depôts had been established … while the fine weather lasted, much, if not of all, of the misery and suffering of the men and of the loss of horses would have been averted.’ Anonymous letters from officers and men added their quota of complaint, and before Christmas the ‘Times’ charged Raglan and his staff with neglect and incompetence.

The commander of the forces had no direct responsibility for supply and transport. Up to 22 Dec., when a change was made, the commissariat was a branch, not of the war department, but of the treasury; and so far as any one cause could be named for the terrible hardships which the troops encountered, it was the failure of the treasury to comply with the requisitions it received for forage. The horses were starved, and there was no means of transporting stores from Balaclava to the camps. But in face of the storm of indignation which was rising at home, the government made haste to shift responsibility to the staff in the Crimea. In an official despatch of 6 Jan. 1855, as well as in private letters of earlier date, the Duke of Newcastle censured the administration of the army, and pointed especially to the quartermaster-general, James Bucknall Estcourt [q. v.], and the adjutant-general, Richard Airey (afterwards Lord Airey) [q. v.] But Raglan refused to make those officers scapegoats.

On 29 Jan. the government was defeated upon Roebuck's motion for inquiry. It fell, and Palmerston formed a ministry, with Lord Panmure as secretary for war. On 12 Feb. the latter wrote to Raglan, informing him that commissioners were going out to report, and went on to say: ‘It would appear that your visits to the camp were few and far between, and your staff seems to have known as little as yourself of the condition of your gallant men.’ He added in a private letter that a radical change of the staff was the least that would satisfy the public. In a long and dignified reply on 3 March, Raglan said: ‘I have served under the greatest man of the age more than half my life, have enjoyed his confidence, and have, I am proud to say, been ever regarded by him as a man of truth and some judgment as to the qualifications of officers, and yet, having been placed in the most difficult position in which an officer was ever called upon to serve, and having successfully carried out difficult operations, with the entire approbation of the queen, which is now my only solace, I am charged with every species of neglect; and the opinion which it was my solemn duty to give of the merits of the officers, and the